Rough days happen to the best of us. Whether they come from a trigger like your boss getting upset at you, or if you just wake up not feeling quite like yourself, having a rough day can really take a lot out of you.
Instead of letting that stress continue to build up and up, grab hold of your day and take charge. We’re here to help you learn ways to return a sense of peace to your life, with the top seven methods you can use to de-stress after you’ve had a rough day.
#1) Make Yourself A Nice Home-Cooked Meal
Let’s face it… when you get home from a long, rough day, the first thing you want to do is just plop down on the couch and relax. You always think that you’ll only do it for a moment and that you’ll be able to just get right back up and do what you need to do around the house. Unfortunately, in almost every case, the couch becomes a powerful magnet and you end up just ordering pizza for delivery or sometimes not even eating at all.
Nutrition is important, especially when your body is undergoing times of stress. A healthy, home-cooked meal can be just the way to take your mind off of how stressful your day has been while also giving your body and emotional wellness the nutrition that it needs.
Home-cooked meals don’t have to be big or elaborate. Even a warm bowl of tomato soup and a homemade grilled cheese can do the trick. Cooking comfort food can help you de-stress while also getting important nutrition back into your body. Plus, it’s hard to be upset with a full, warm belly.
#2) Spend A Few Minutes Meditating
We all have coping mechanisms. For a lot of people, coming home and opening a beer or pouring themselves a glass of wine is the way that they choose to cope with their stress level after a long day.
However, not only is alcohol potentially addictive and not quite the healthiest beverage of choice for your body, it is also a depressant. This means that, although you may get some initial boost from drinking it, ultimately it works to suppress your body and mind. Now, we’re not saying that you can’t have a glass every once in a while -- moderation is key. That being said, if you find yourself coming home and going directly to the fridge, consider trying something else.
Meditation is a great substitute, although it may not feel like that at first. It is called a “practice” for a reason, and it will likely take you some time to really feel like you’ve gotten the hang of it. The good news is that learning to meditate and practicing meditation gives you a goal and something to focus on when you get home. Even just a few minutes of meditation has proven to be beneficial, as it takes your mind off of the things you can’t control and centers your attention in the present.
Much of what causes us to feel terrible about our day is thinking too much about what we could have done differently or worrying about what things are going to be like because of what may have happened. In the end, both of those things are completely out of our control. We can’t change the past, and we certainly can’t know the future.
With meditation, and the mindfulness that it helps you develop, you can gain a better understanding of the fact that those things are temporary and changeable. You are here, you are breathing, you are alive… those are the things that really do matter the most.
#3) Take A Warm Bath
There is little in this world that is more soothing than a warm bath. Just shedding off your clothes and the remains of your rough day to slip into the warm embrace of a bath can completely transform you. It also allows you to cleanse yourself of any of the negativity you may have brought home with you.
To amp up the soothing power of a bath, consider adding essential oils. Lavender essential oil has been found to be especially helpful, both with helping to soothe and calm you, as well as helping you get a more restful night’s sleep. Just add a few drops to your bath, light some candles, and feel the stress drift away.
#4) Go To Bed Early
Sometimes, no matter what you try, your bad mood follows you home. You just can’t shake it, and it seems like it will follow you around like a dark cloud over your head forever.
In cases like these, if you’ve tried your normal coping mechanisms and nothing seems to be helping, there is absolutely no shame in choosing to call it a night so that you can start fresh in the morning. In fact, a lot of mental health issues can be made worse by not getting enough sleep, so things like anxiety and depression can actually be amplified when you’re sleep-deprived. So, calling it an early night is actually one of the kindest things you can do for yourself.
On that note, if you find yourself lying in bed without falling asleep, don’t try to force it. Just get up and head into a different room, without your phone or other devices. Try to do something relaxing that doesn’t stimulate your brain much, and when you’re feeling tired again, head back to bed. There is no benefit in just staring at the ceiling, especially when it comes to trying to ease stress.
#5) Talk It Out
Having a rough day can feel very isolating. In some cases, you feel like you should remove yourself from your friends and your family so that your mood doesn’t rub off on them. In other cases, you don’t want to be a burden or feel like you’re just “whining.”
However, when you have a solid support system, no matter what that looks like for you, you can and should rely on that support system in situations exactly like this one.
Being able to vent, to get all of the bad out of your head and off of your chest, allows you far more space to heal. When you hold all of the negativity inside, it tends to build and build until the only option that is left for you is just to break down. And ultimately, that’s far worse for the people around you than sitting down with them and being able to talk about what’s on your mind. You don’t even have to get together in person. A quick phone or video call or even a text message can help.
Give your loved ones the opportunity to be there for you. It will make your relationship even stronger and help you develop deeper, more intimate connections with the people you care about.
#6) Work It Out
When you feel like you’re about to pop from stress and you can feel it building up, lace up your gym shoes and try putting all of those feelings into a hard workout. Going for a long run, hitting the gym and lifting weights, or even going for a walk with your dog can give you a physical outlet for your anxiety.
Not to mention, exercise is a great way to flood your body with positive hormones and endorphins that can work from the inside out to help you feel better quicker. These hormones can also help to reduce your physical stress level, which you may be experiencing because of all of the tension most people already hold in their neck and shoulders. Plus, a change of scenery (particularly in nature) can do wonders for helping you gain perspective on what’s bothering you .
#7) Blast Music
If you’re feeling stressed and anxious and don’t have an outlet to get it all out, try turning on some music. Music has been found time and time again to have beneficial properties for both the body and the mind, and the ability to help you de-stress and rid you of your bad mood is just one of them.
When you turn your music up loud, and even dance around the house or sing at the top of your lungs, you release all of those pent up feelings of anger, hostility, and frustration. You can even try making a playlist specifically for bad days, full of songs that you know will help you feel better.
For some people, this is a playlist full of loud music they can sing along to. For others, it’s classical music that calms them down. No matter what your personal preferences are, music can be just what you need to move past the bad and find a greater sense of calm and relief.
Whether you take a warm bath, give your best friend a call, or simply dance around your house with your music blasting, taking steps to decompress after a long, stressful day is essential to your mental (and physical) health. You can handle anything that life may throw at you. And remember, bad days always pass.